Ţara Vrancei

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Vrancea region in Romania

Vrancea region

Vrancea archaeological sites

The zone of Vrancea is situated high in the elbow of the Carpathians with the mountains to the west. It is separated from valea Trotuşului zone to the north by sparsely populated forests, meets the Buzău region of valea Râmnicului to the south, and drops to the plains along the Siret river to the east.

The ethnographic zone follows the river valleys deep into the Carpathians where there is little agricultural land. There is a string of settlements along the rivers, where occupations are mainly pastoral. The zone of Vrancea was relatively isolated until recently due to poor road access, whereas the political county of Vrancea also includes the city of Focşani and it's surrounding plains.

Archaeological evidence indicates that sites have been inhabited from the Neolithic through to the Iron age, predominantly along the foothills, but a few sites exist in the lower reaches of the valleys. The 'age of migrations' appears to been limited to the area of the plains.

In 1227 to 1228 a Cuman bishopric was founded near Focşani with the conversion of the Cumans to Christianity. This increased the Hungarian Kingdom's religious and political influence in the region. However, the diocese was destroyed in 1241 by the Tatar invasion.

Vrancea is mentioned in documents of Alexandru cel Bun in 1421 and was in the past an independent ţinut. In the beginning of the 17th century the peasants in all the villages, after 13 years of war with the boyers (feudal nobility), succeeded in freeing themselves of their feudal owners. 

Some influences from other regions may still be present in the villages of Rucăreni, Dragosloveni and Soveja which had a population originating from Muscel. The village of Bârseşti is supposed to have a Transylvanian population.

Despite Vrancea being a remote area, the folklore has continued to transform and develop incorporating influences from outside the zone. Originally connections to the outside world were made by the transhumance shepherds, but more recently forestry workers from Sitna Buzăului have come to work in Vrancea during weekdays.


The majority of dances in Vrancea are performed in a line or circle. The men's dances De tare and  Munteneşte are specific to Vrancea and are related to the Muntenian Brâul. The connection in the old dances with Muntenia to the south west  is also seen in the dances Brâul vechi and  Boităneasca which similar to Lăzeasca in Sita Buzăului. 

The dances such as Corăgheasca, Ţigăneasca, Rusasca, Ţărăneşte come from the neighbouring ethnographic zones (interference zones) come, with dances such as Hora, Raţa, Basmaua, Chindia, Chilabaua being from the common Moldavian repertoire.

Other dances have been introduced from the wider circulation such as Oiţa, Cărăşelul, Muşamaua,  and the common Sârba, plus more recent urban influences such as Banul Mărăcine, Alunelul, Sârba studenţilor, Sotiş, and Polca.

Couple dances are seen in the local versions of De doi, and Ciobanaşul plus the wide spread introduced dances such as Cărăşelul, Muşamaua, Sotiş, and Polca.

Line dances
Balkan 3 measure 4 measure Hora uni-directional bi-directional in place
common Sârba Hora Vrancei

Hora Sovejană

Hora lui Gheorghe


Oiţa (Sârba)

Sârba în câalice






Men's dances
Ritual dances Brâul Group men's dances Lad's dances Verbunc
  De tare



Couple dances
walking dance
Turning dances Column dances Csardas Germanic &
central European
          De doi



Violin, cobza and sometimes small cimbalom.  In the past the fluier and cimpoi.


Women's costume
Shirt Aprons/skirt Headwear Belt Overgarments
Gathered neck chemise cămaşă încreţită
Older style blouse with long 'twisted' sleeves.
Wrap round skirts called catrinţe are black with metallic stripes (vrâste) Headscarves  (Ştergar) or silk Maramă. Narrow woven fabric belt (brâu) Black woollen cloth or velvet waistcoat (ilic)
Men's costume
Shirt Trousers Headwear Belt Overgarments
Straight Shirt - (Cămaşă dreaptă) Winter trousers (iţari), very long and creased as wound round legs.

Thin summer trousers (Izmene)

Felt hat Wide woven belt fabric (brâu) or leather belt (chimir) Black fabric waistcoat (laibăr)



Bacanu, G (1969), Jocuri populare din sudel Moldovei, Casa creaţiei populare a judeţului Galaţi

Bacanu, G. (1965) Jocuri Populare din Vrancea, Centrul Creatiei populare a judeţului Galati.

Cherciu, I. (2004) Arta Populară din Tara Vrancei, Editura Enciclopedica, Bucuresti

Florescu, F (1958), Portul Popular din Ţara Vrancei, Editura de stat pentru literatură şi artă, Bucuresti

Giurchescu, A (1957), Jocurile din Vrancea, Revista de Folclor Anul II nr.4, Bucuresti

Giurescu, C (1972), Chronological History of Romania, Editura Enciclopedică Română, Bucurestit

Stoica, G & Petrescu, P (1997), Dicţionar de artă populara, Bucureşti

Ministerul Culturii şi Cultelor lista monumentelor istorice 2004 (http://www.cultura.ro/)


Ensemble Folklorique Doina Vrancea, Electrecord EPE01733

Ansamblul folcloric profesionist, Electrecord EDC210

Ansamblul folcloric profesionist, Electrecord EDC397


© Eliznik2006, First issue Dec-06